Disaster Declarations on The Rise, But Why?
According to ABC news reports, President Obama declared a “record-setting 99 disasters throughout 2011. That’s 20 more than he declared in 2010 and more than twice as many as President George W. Bush declared in either of his first two years in the White House.” The story explores a recent Government Accountability Office report and suggests the increase may have resulted “from an antiquated process that dumps most of the responsibility for funding disaster recovery on the federal government instead of the states.”
“According to the report, the president would likely have declared 44 percent fewer disasters — and saved the federal government millions of dollars — if the threshold for federal help were raised to keep up with inflation and increases in household incomes.
The bar is set at $1.35 in damages per resident, a threshold that ‘does not accurately reflect a jurisdiction’s capability to respond to or recover from a disaster without federal assistance, the report states.”